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those by which they were called in his time, and added, for the purpose of elucidation, the few passages which are allowed to be not suitable to the age of Moses. Now, surely, when it is considered that these few passages are of an explanatory nature; that they are easily distinguished from the original writings of Moses; and that Ezra was himself an inspired writer raised up by God to re-establish the Jewish church, after the return from captivity, the cavils founded upon such circumstances can scarcely be thought deserving of any serious attention.
It is sometimes asserted that there is a sameness of language and style in the different books of the Old Testament, which is not compatible with the different ages usually assigned to them, and thence an inference is drawn unfavourable to the Authenticity of these books, and particularly to that of the Pentateuch. To this objection we may answer, that it is founded
upon an untrue assertion; for those who are best acquainted with the original writings of the Old Testament agree, that there is a marked difference in the style and language of its several authors; and one learned man in particular concludes from that difference, “ that it is certain the five books, which are ascribed to Moses, were not written in the time of David, the Psalms of 5
David in the age of Isaiah, nor the Prophecies of Isaiah in the time of Malachi (0).” But let us consider the case of the Greek authors, whose works have come down to the present time. The age of Hesiod and Hoiner, the two oldest Greek writers, is not precisely known; but Blair, and most other chronologers, place them about 900 years before Christ; and we know that Longinus, who was perhaps the latest of the authors called classical, lived towards the end of the third century after Christ; there was therefore an interval of almost 1200 years between Homer and Longinus, which happens rather to exceed the interval between Moses and Malachi, the first and last of the Hebrew authors. If therefore the Greek language remained through twelve centuries without any material change, why might not the Hebrew? In fact, the Hebrew was less liable to alteration, because the Hebrews, till the Captivity, had very little intercourse with other nations. But the argument from the Greek language is still stronger, even if it be confined to prose writers, whose ages are certainly known. It will readily be granted that Herodotus wrote his history about 450 years before Christ, and that Eustathius wrote his Commentary upon
(0) Marsh on the Authenticity of the five books of Moses.
Homer nearly 1 200 years
after Christ; and therefore these two writers shew that the Greek language changed but little through a period of more than 1600 years. It will not be imagined that I consider the style of Homer, Herodotus, Longinus, and Eustathius, as exactly, or even nearly, the same; I only contend that there is the same degree of resemblance between Greek, as there is between Hebrew authors, who lived at similar intervals.
I have thought it right to notice these objections, because I have lately seen a good deal of importance attributed to them; and indeed such objections are very frequent in modern publications. Those who advance them, know but too well, that by stating them in a specious and confident manner, they may shake the faith of the unwary, and by degrees draw them over to their own sceptical opinions. Let me then caution my young readers against these insidious and mischievous attempts. Let the direct and positive proofs of the divine authority of the Scriptures, or of any other branch of our religion which may be attacked, be constantly recollected. Let it be remembered, that upon every point, however clearly and undoubtedly proved, it is easy to find cavils and difficulties ; and that to these cavils and difficulties there must be satisfactory answers,
although they may not occur to the mind, or have not fallen within the reading of every person. Above all, let recourse be had upon all such occasions to this general principle, – That when the truth of any proposition is established upon just and legitimate grounds, or when any doctrine is revealed in the written Word of God, 10 weight whatever is due to objections founded in probable reasoning, metaphysical speculation, or conjectural criticism; and we may safely pronounce, that no other have ever been brought to oppose the conclusions which we have seen derived from facts, by arguments obviously resulting from those facts, and consistent with each other, in favour of the Authenticity and Inspiration of the antient Scriptures.
P A R T I.
CHAPTER THE SECOND:
CONTENTS OF THE SEVERAL BOOKS
H E book of Genesis (a), which derives its name from a Greek word signifying generation or production, comprehends a period of about 2369 years. It begins with the history of the Creation of the World in six days, and contains also an account of the disobedience and punishment of Adam and Eve; the increase of mankind; the progress of wickedness; the general destruction of the human race by the deluge, except Noah and his family, who were miraculously preserved in the Ark; the promise of God that the world should no more be destroyed by
a flood; (α) Γενεσις 4 γινομαι, sum, to.